Make It New with Anja Schneider

Starting in 2000 with the Dance Under the Blue Moon, Berlin’s longest-running underground radio show, Anja Schneider has left an indelible and authentic mark on the music capital’s scene. Then with Mobilee, one of its most beloved labels, she made allies with Solomun, H.O.S.H., Pan-Pot and many more.

Labels she’s touched? PIAS, Crosstown Rebels, DIYNAMIC MUSIC,‎ Get Physical Music, etc. The creme de la creme. Need anymore convincing to make it out? Try her landmark Essential Mix of 2014, which crescendoed with the seminal “Computer Love.”

Once famously dubbed a “perpetual motion machine,” Ms. Schneider’s DJ sets, full of originals and remixes you might never get the chance to hear again, will leave you nothing short of

breathless.

Make It New with Anja Schneider
+ Coralcola & Baltimoroder
feat special opening set from Lost and Found
Thursday, January 12th
Middlesex Lounge
315 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA
9pm/21+/$10 before 11pm/$20 after

Loop 2016: Day 3

loop2016mmmmaven
The Loop 2016 series of blog posts chronicles Mmmmaven’s Ableton intern and former student, Katharine Fountain, on her journey to Berlin to attend Ableton’s Loop Summit. Loop is three days of discussions, performances, presentations, studios sessions and interactive workshops aimed at exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of music, creativity, and technology. Click here to learn more about Loop, or connect with Katharine via Instagram or on Soundcloud .

The Art of Sampling

The final day of Loop kicked off with a presentation by notable producers Kirk Knight, Kyoka and Deantoni Parks, all of whom use samples extensively across a variety of musical genres.

As the number of tools for capturing and manipulating samples has grown and become more flexible, so too has the variety of techniques and usage of sampling proliferated. What are the different ways that music makers today work with samples?

Sampling is an essential part of any electronic producers workflow, be it processed field recordings or pitched and chopped vocals. It was interesting to observe the different approaches that each producer took to sampling as they created fresh beats live on stage while discussing their techniques with moderator, Tony Nwachukwu.

From Studio To Stage: Developing Your Performance Setup

The Art of Sampling was followed with a discussion pertaining to a question that many producers regularly ask themselves, that is – how am I going to perform this live? Moderator Mark Zadel was joined by producer/performers Daedelus, Kimbra and Quantic to discuss the ways in which they developed their live performances, and the challenges that they encountered along the way.

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For me, a key takeaway was that although it can be tempting to try and do everything live in order to prove yourself (in a world that unfortunately, still tends to question the validity of live electronic concerts), it is important to play to your strengths and ultimately cultivate a set that is comfortable and fun for you to perform.

Other pearls of wisdom included:

  • Think about how much time you need to practice – double it
  • If you’re considering hiring a crew, hire a great live sound engineer first
  • Always bring a backup set to the show
  • Start small and gradually build your set
  • If you can’t find the right piece of equipment to use in your set, don’t be afraid to reach out to the makers of instruments and musical equipment and share your needs. You are helping them to create better gear for everybody

Young Producers Roundtable w/ Kučka, Kirk Knight, and Guest Facilitator DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Out of all of the wonderful discussions and performances that occurred throughout the weekend, the Young Producer’s Roundtable was probably the most important and influential event for me.Joined by a handful of emerging artists from across the world, I sat in a circle with producers Kučka, Kirk Knight and the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff, and discussed the challenges and opportunities that young artists face in the modern music industry.

An issue that seemed to be shared collectively by my peers and I was the question of wondering if, and when your music is good enough to be shared with the public. At one point in the discussion, DJ Jazzy Jeff (who has worked with The Roots, Talib Kweli and Eminem, mind you) said simply, “you’re always going to be insecure about your music”. There was something about hearing those words come from somebody with nearly 30 years in the business that was oddly comforting to me. It’s easy to believe that everyone else is so much more confident and capable than you are, but in reality as artists, we all share similar doubts regarding our work, and it’s okay to feel that way.

We also got the chance to discuss some of the unique obstacles that female producers are confronted with. Apart from myself and Kučka, there were only 2 other women at the table – the land of music production is still a very male dominated field. I think that this is slowly changing, but for now we are still a minority when it comes to producing.

I found Kirk Knight’s drive and enthusiasm to be infectious – his passion and energy for creating music was very apparent, and I appreciated how humble and down to earth he was despite achieving great success at such a young age. I got the chance to speak with him one on one later on, and he encouraged me to just put out as much music as I can, and like Jazzy Jeff said, not to worry about whether or not it’s good enough. It’s important to develop a body of work, and allow your listeners to grow with you as you progress.

Lee Scratch Perry & Subatomic Sound System in Concert

Loop 2016 concluded with a discussion and performance from Lee “Scratch” Perry and Subatomic Sound System. Jamaican born Lee Perry is a central figure in the evolution and history of reggae and dub music, and at 80 years old had more energy and stage presence than anybody that I’ve seen perform in quite some time!

Perry was the first producer to ever appear as an artist on an album cover, proving the creative capabilities of the studio as an art form itself. Producing music from his simple home studio, the Black Ark, and distributing most of it on his own independent Upsetter label, Perry inspired producers across all genres of music.

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In addition to his own music, Perry has produced hits for the likes of Bob Marley & The Wailers, Junior Byles, Max Romeo, the Heptones, Gregory Isaacs, Junior Murvin, and The Clash. His lively and bassdriven performance was the perfect way to top off an excellent weekend!

<<< Day 2  |  Intro >>>

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Production Program at MMMMAVEN
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Loop 2016: Day 2

loop2016abletonmmmmaven
The Loop 2016 series of blog posts chronicles Mmmmaven’s Ableton intern and former student, Katharine Fountain, on her journey to Berlin to attend Ableton’s Loop Summit. Loop is three days of discussions, performances, presentations, studios sessions and interactive workshops aimed at exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of music, creativity, and technology. Click here to learn more about Loop, or connect with Katharine via Instagram or on Soundcloud .


Snapchat Takeover!

On my second day in Berlin I got to takeover Berklee‘s snapchat account and share my experience at Loop with fellow students and followers from around the world! It was a lot of fun and I tried my best to showcase as much of Loop as possible. Watch my Snapchat story from Day 2 below: ( via @kitkat_514 & @berkleesnaps)


Searching for Sound: Screening and Discussion

The first event of the day was a preview of Red Bull’s new film, Searching For Sound, followed with a discussion moderated by Loop’s Creative Producer, Ed Williams. Searching for Sound is an ongoing documentary series created by Red Bull, that follows artists on a journey back to their cultural roots in search of new inspiration for their music.

Each episode follows a single artist, capturing the experience first-hand as they explore the foundations of their music, collaborate with local artists, discover new audiences and record new sounds – all with the ultimate goal of recording and performing new material inspired by the region.

We were introduced to Indian producer Sandunes, and Russian multi-instrumentalist and producer Mitya, who shared several highlights from the documentary. As part of their journey, each artist travelled to diverse locations to engage with local musicians and learn from their traditions. The goal of their exploration was to use field recordings and traditional instruments discovered on their journey to use within their own compositions. The film was both heartwarming and entertaining, and left me eagerly awaiting its full release in the near future.


Deantoni Parks in Concert

Next, I attended an electrifying performance by producer and former drummer for The Mars Volta, Deantoni Parks. With one hand on a sampler and the rest of his limbs in control of a drum kit, Parks delivered a dynamic half analog/half MIDI performance that was unlike anything that I’ve seen before. His live set reimagines the way that music can be created and performed, and was both a visually and sonically captivating experience.

“Adding the MIDI controller really helped solve that problem. I had to drop a stick and that was the hardest part, but you gain so many opportunities with the samples. I feel like this is something I couldn’t have done ten years ago. I think the timing of it is perfect, because I had no where else to go, not that I’ll never work with bands again, I’m just over the concept. Especially when it comes to composition and arrangement, it’s too much compromising. When you’re in that moment, in your own ensemble, you’re arranging it by the moment. Everything is tight, it’s together, it’s amazing. That’s how I like writing—you get thing done more quickly, the software is made so that things get done quicker.” – Parks via XLR8R

Apart from his solo work, Parks is also the drummer for NYC based band KUDU, and is one half of electronic duo Dark Angels. His solo debut, Technoself, was released by Leaving Records in 2015.


CDR x Ableton at Prince Charles

Day 2 concluded at Berlin nightclub Prince Charles, where Ableton partnered with multi-platform music project CDR (Create, Define, Release) to host an evening of new music submitted by Loop attendees, as well as performances from the likes of Kode 9, Daedelus, and Lady Blacktronika. CDR sessions are unique in that they offer emerging producers the chance to submit their tracks to be played in a live setting, which allows the artist the opportunity to gauge crowd response and identify any modifications they would like to make to their music.

Another great day and a super fun night!

<<< Day 1   |  Day 3 >>>

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Production Program at MMMMAVEN
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Loop 2016: Day 1

loop2016mmmmaven

The Loop 2016 series of blog posts chronicles Mmmmaven’s Ableton intern and former student, Katharine Fountain, on her journey to Berlin to attend Ableton’s Loop Summit. Loop is three days of discussions, performances, presentations, studios sessions and interactive workshops aimed at exchanging ideas at the cutting edge of music, creativity, and technology. Click here to learn more about Loop, or connect with Katharine via Instagram or on Soundcloud .


Breakbeat Deconstruction: From Hip Hop to Drum & Bass and Beyond

The first presentation that I attended explored the sonic impact of breakbeats and sampling in music production, and was delivered by Dr. Jason Hockman. In addition to being an electronic music producer and co-founder of Drum & Bass label Detuned Transmissions, Dr. Hockman also holds a PhD in Music Research from McGill University, and a Master’s in Music Technology from NYU. He is currently a lecturer in audio engineering and conducts research in music informatics at Birmingham City University.

It was interesting to see how both limitations and advancements in music technology contributed to the way in which breakbeats have been interpreted and sampled over the years.

He illustrated this by sharing numerous examples of how famous breaks such as the Amen were used across a variety of tracks and genres spanning decades. One of my favorite tracks used in his lecture was Tango’s 1996 release “understanding”, which features pitch shifted hi-hats over a heavy rolling bass line.


Synth Build with Bastl Instruments

Every participant at Loop was given the opportunity to sign up for one “Workshop”. There were so many cool things going on that it was almost impossible to choose; however, I was drawn to the modular synth building workshop hosted by Bastl Instruments. Based in Brno, Czech Republic, Bastl is a dynamic and community driven company focused on producing hand-made electronic musical instruments. Many of their instruments are available through their boutique the Noise Kitchen as DIY kits that you can build yourself (fully formed versions can be purchased too!). They also have a cassette label called Bukkotapes. With so many cool projects going on, I was really curious to learn more about this company.

bastlinstrumentsbostondjschool

Full disclosure: I had no previous experience with soldering or even with modular synths, but I figured that if there ever was a time learn – this was it!

We were each given a bag containing the parts that would eventually become our mini modular synths. The model that we would be constructing during the workshop was called the Kastle.

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The board – a piece had to be soldered into each and every one of those holes! It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but after a while it became easier.

kastlesynthworkshop2

Huddled around a small table in the drafty but charming Kultursaal, 2 Canadians, an Italian, an American, and a Brit got to work soldering.

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Almost ready for the final touches!

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4 hours later…my very own DIY Kastle Mini Modular! It ended up taking most of us quite a bit longer than anticipated to finish our synths (so long, in fact, that we were kicked out of our room to make way for the next event!). Nonetheless, it was a really fun project, and I enjoyed the sense of camaraderie that I felt with my peers as we discussed music and helped one another to finish our synths.

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The crew from Bastl Instruments were really friendly and helpful, and overall it was a great experience! I spend so much time working with music technology every day, but seldom do I stop and think of how everything is working underneath the surface. It definitely added a fresh perspective to how I view electronic instruments, and I would definitely recommend trying something out like this if you ever get the chance!

Robert Henke Presents: Fragile Territories

Next up, I decided to check out Robert Henke‘s laser based audiovisual installation Fragile Territories. Located in the dark and somewhat creepy Sound Chamber. Henke aka Monolake used a series of complex algorithms to create this laser based audiovisual environment. Delicate lasers would draw images at random, while the crackle of electricity oscillated indefinitely.

Every so often, a dark shadow would appear and along with the deep rumble of sub frequency sounds, overwhelm the prior sonic and visual imagery.

Given the acoustics of the space, as well as the audiovisual environment created by Henke, I found these moments of the installation to be the most powerful. I revisited Fragile Territories several times throughout the weekend.


Morton Subotnick & Lillevän in Concert

Day 1 concluded with a collaborative performance between one of the pioneers of electronic music Morton Subotnick, and visual and animation artist Lillevän. Subotnick along with designer Don Buchla, is credited with inventing one of the first analogue synthesizers, The Buchla Series 100, in 1963. It was a nice way to end the day!

<<< Intro  |  Day 2 >>>

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Production Program at MMMMAVEN
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